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Oceanography covers a wide range of topics, including current. To measure water current, along with other parameters, it is crucial to get a good understanding of prevailing forces and how eco systems function and change over time. Currents vary on time scales of seconds to minutes to hours. To obtain reliable information on current dynamics requires instruments that are installed and measure continuously over longer time periods. Spot measurements during shorter expeditions will give limited "snap shot" information.
The “classical” way to measure water current is to use rotor/propeller equipped instruments. Later generations of current meters measure current speed and direction without moving parts using acoustic doppler, acoustic time travel or electromagnetic techniques.
The acoustic doppler technique has become the preferred technology for most users measuring current, because it is robust, needs no calibrations, can be used for both point (RCM) and profiling (ADCP) measurements and is basically insensitive to fouling.
Acoustic transducers send acoustic pulses which are reflected against particles and/or gas-bubbles moving in the water. Depending on the direction and speed of the water suspended particles a frequency shift (Doppler shift) in the returned acoustic signal will occur which is used to calculate the water current speed and direction.
The Aanderaa Doppler Current Profiler Sensor (DCPS) which is also known as an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) is a 600 kHz profiler with a range of 30-110 m. It is available as a stand-alone current meter and complete instrument. The profiler has configuration for:
The ADCP can be used with any third party logger capable of reading serial Rs232 and/or Rs422. This is a stand-alone unit stripped to remove overhead of datalogger if not needed.
SeaGuardII DCP is the latest generation of multiparameter instruments from Aanderaa combining current profiling with other ocean parameters. It has the capacity to serve as an underwater observatory.
The SeaGuard platform combined with a suite of Aanderaa Smart Sensors offers large flexibility to adapt the instrument for different missions. Sensors can be plug-and-play added as desired on to the top plate of the instrument or cable connected or included in sensor strings. Analog and serial ports also makes it possible to add sensors from other manufacturers.
One software, the Real Time collector, is used to communicate and set-up all Aanderaa platforms and smart sensors.
Collected data is plotted and analyzed using the 3D-studio software and if the instruments are used on-line the GeoView or the new Hydrosphere software are often selected for real-time presentation of the measurements and for database storage.
For shallow water applications we offer the RCM-Blue an affordable, 300m rated, current meter with exceptional autonomy and Blue Tooth communication for set up and data download.
To learn more about these instruments, ocean water currents and their abilities please look at the video of a yearly service of two SeaGuard instruments used for coastal monitoring.
SEAGUARD® Recording Current Meter
ZPulse® Doppler Current Sensor 4420
Doppler Current Sensor Blue 5430
Doppler Current Profiler Sensor (DCPS) 5400/5402/5403
Acoustic Doppler Current Meters
Final field work in wind platform project in the Baltic Sea
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Five generations of instruments in service
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SeaGuardII DCP Wave white paper
SeaGuard Current Meters Case Study
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